Hair Tests For Alcohol


Are hair tests for alcohol reliable and can they detect alcohol ingestion?

Please continue reading to find out the answers to these questions.

Characteristics of Hair Drug Tests

An analysis of a person's hair can result in a significantly longer testing window for the detection of drugs and drug metabolites.

This provides a more complete drug-use history that can go back in time as far as a year.

Similar to urine testing, hair testing does not reveal evidence of current impairment, only past use of a specific drug. And of special note, hair testing recently became used to detect alcohol.


Hair Drug Tests have the following characteristics:

  • They are currently many times more costly than urine tests.

  • They are a relatively non-intrusive method of drug and alcohol testing.

  • They detect substance use over a longer period of time.

  • They do not usually detect drug or alcohol use within the past seven days.

  • They require a sample of hair approximately the diameter of a pencil and about 1.5 inches long.

  • They cannot be done with a single hair.

  • They reveal positive test results more than twice as often as urine tests.

  • They are not significantly affected by brief periods of abstinence from drugs or alcohol.

  • They can sometimes be used to determine when drug use started and if it has been discontinued.

Can hair testing be defeated or beaten? No adulterants have been found that can beat hair tests for drugs.

Plus, the risk is minimized due to the fact that every collection is directly and easily observed.

Drug Hair Tests Strengths

The following list represents some of the advantages of employing drug hair tests:

  • They have a longer window of detection.

  • They offer greater stability (i.e, they do not deteriorate).

  • They can detect chronic drug and alcohol use.

  • They provide convenient shipping and storage, since they do not require refrigeration.

  • They offer a collection procedure that is not invasive or embarrassing.

  • They are more difficult to adulterate than urine.

  • They detect the combined use of alcohol AND cocaine.

  • They can provide a drug usage history that spans many months.


Drug Hair Tests Weaknesses

The following list typifies some of the limitations of drug hair tests:

  • They are relatively expensive.

  • They are usually limited to a basic 5-drug panel.

  • They cannot detect very recent drug use (i.e., usage from 1 to 7 days before the test).

Conclusion: Hair Drug Tests

While hair tests can be and have been used for drug testing for several years, hair tests for alcohol just recently became possible because hair tests can now detect alcohol.